Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Tourism sector urges reboot of ‘México’ brand promotion

The use of the “México” brand to promote tourism and trade should be resumed, according to the president of the Mexican Federation of Tourism Associations (Fematur).

Jorge Hernández told the newspaper Milenio that if the brand, first used 15 years ago as a way to promote the country’s identity and appeal to foreign tourists, is no longer used, it will only benefit other countries competing with Mexico for tourism revenue.

He said that an agreement between the federal government and the private sector is needed to allow the latter to use the “México” brand legally. “We hope to make up for all this time in which the brand” hasn’t been used, Hernández  said.

First used in tourism and trade promotion at the end of the six-year term of the government of former president Vicente Fox, the “México” brand also helped to increase the number of annual visitors to the country during the administrations of ex-presidents Felipe Calderón and Enrique Peña Nieto.

The international trade and investment agency ProMéxico and the Tourism Promotion Council both made extensive use of the “México” trademark. However, as part of wider austerity measures, the current federal government disbanded both agencies, effectively killing off the “México” brand.

According to the general director and founder of the advertising agency responsible for it, its discontinuation is a mistake.

“Destination brands have to transcend time,” Eduardo Calderón, CEO of MBLM México, told Milenio.

“You can’t build [a brand] in one administration; that’s one of the mistakes we make as a country. We think that we can change the identity of destinations at every whim of new administrations. When we look at the identities of traditionally tourism-oriented countries such as Spain, France and Italy, they continue to maintain many of the components they had in their previous brands.”

Hernández agreed, stating that when promotional programs are successful – international tourist numbers roughly doubled during the years that the “México” brand was used from 20 million in 2004 to more than 40 million in 2018 – “they must transcend governments.”

He said that the “Viajemos Todos Por México” (Let’s All Travel Through Mexico) scheme developed by the previous government to boost domestic tourism and attract United States citizens of Mexican descent to the country is another example of a program that should have been maintained but which was scrapped by the current government.

Calderón said that it takes times for country brands to build momentum and have a greater impact and therefore the abandonment of the “México” brand – ranked as the most important brand in Latin America in 2018 by consultancy firm Brand Finance – shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

The advertising agency chief said that the “México” brand now belongs more to the people than the government and represents the whole country.

Calderón said that he believes that the brand can still be used to grow tourism in Mexico, adding that replacing it “will not change any of the negative things we have“ in the country.

He also explained that the iconography of each letter of the “México” brand logo represents a different aspect of the country.

The M represents pre-Hispanic culture and the fusion of cultures. The É represents the thousands of years of civilization in the land now known as Mexico including the period when Spain (España) conquered the territory and established a viceroyalty.

The X is symbolic of the crossing of paths by the indigenous people and Spaniards to form a new mestizo, or mixed, culture. The I, suggestive of a tall building or one of the Satélite towers in the iconic sculpture of México state, represents the architecture and monumental art of Mexico.

The C alludes to the diversity of flora and fauna in Mexico, while the O represents the country’s beaches and extensive Pacific, Gulf and Caribbean coastlines.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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